We had a fantastic trip in Montana this summer on the 2016 Glacier National Park Workshop. Weather was perfect, wildlife was abundant, and we had way too much fun out there chasing the light in one of my favorite National Parks.
This year conditions were looking good. The remnants of the last year’s fire around St. Mary Lake were evident, but did not affect some of the classic shots, specifically Wild Goose Island. However it was interesting to hike through the recent burn and see the vegetation beginning to grow and also the different bird specifies that were visible and taking advantage of the the new resources available after the fire.
Last year the Reynolds Creek Fire blew up the day we were about to start our workshop on the east side. The fire forced us to evacuate and move our group to the west side for the rest of the workshop. The uncertainty of the fire left a lot of people wondering how much would be left intact around Wild Goose Island and the Going to the Sun Road. In all the fire burned around 4,800 acres.
Fortunately this year there were no fires to contend with and the park was back to normal on the east side. Matter of fact Glacier was to see record visitation this year and as of this writing over 2.3 million people have visited the iconic park, breaking last year’s record of 2.2 million and we’re still not finished yet. That’s a heck of a lot of people considering the park’s season generally runs from June-Oct. It’s also a recent challenge that a lot of National Parks are having to deal with at the moment. Now that more people are discovering our last best places, parks are having to figure out how to continue to protect and manage our delicate lands.
Glacier is certainly a special place for both landscape and wildlife photographers and offers an amazing diversity in climate, landscape, and wildlife found no where else in the lower 48. I look forward to being back soon and visiting one of my favorite places to explore!